I hope you enjoyed the first part of this three-part blog series. I am so glad to be sharing with you the intentions of my heart as a mom, in hopes that it will touch your heart and encourage you within the season of motherhood that you are in. I can remember being a young mom and just wanting a mom with wisdom to tell me all the things. Not in a competitive you are doing it all wrong type of way, but in a loving way where the wisdom taught me something new. Each one of us can learn from one another and all grow, becoming the best moms we can be. Let’s dig into what I believe to be the 2nd most important gift I can give my girls.
I do not know about you, but I can remember the days of being a child. The days of elementary school where everything seemed new and exciting. Each new year brought new responsibilities with longer recesses and bigger playgrounds (I can still name all my teachers from the kindergarten to the 6th grade). Then there were the awkward days of middle school where not much made sense, we were just trying to make it to the last bell where freedom and familiarity lived. Then came high school, where I made some of my best childhood memories and started to become most like myself finding comfort in who I was and whose I was. Looking back at my own childhood memories made this 2nd gift so important. The gift and foundation of identity.
Today we live in a fast paced society, always changing time. The ways of the world are shifting about as fast as the waves of the ocean and many of us are being tossed so quickly that we as adults don’t even have a chance to firmly grip our feet before a new wave of change comes. Raising kids in this environment can be challenging, but I as a mom take refuge in this verse from Hebrews 13:8 that states, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. No matter how quickly our times change, Jesus does not change friend. This is so refreshing while raising girls to identify the identity they have in Jesus vs with the world. Now let me also say I believe it is important for our girls/boys to be in the world, not of the world. My job as their mother is not to shelter them because of fear. Fear is not biblical and is not given from the Father. My goal is to instill in them an identity that is not shaken so that when they go out into the world, they will stand firm when the world contradicts their identity with standards of worth based on money, social media following, fame, competition, image and more. I want to raise girls that can boldly walk out the doors of my home, being a light in this dark uncertain world, while knowing and standing upon the identity they have in Jesus Christ.
I know you are asking now, what does this look like, Liz. Well in our home, it starts with constant affirmations. When our kids as toddlers are fearful of the dark, we might respond with, “Who protects you.” This reminder allows them to quickly search their heart and discover who is here right now to protect me and watching over me. As they grow and come home from school with hurt hearts and feelings, we immediately ask, what does the Lord say about you? We then open our bible (great way to get kids reading their bible or instilling in them that when there are times I am uncertain, the bible has answers). Friends, this book is not ancient. I am a firm believer that it is alive and breathing and it does some works in our children’s hearts that we do not have the power and authority to do (Use It). Girl read your Bible; they are watching. Here are some great identity verses to go to; John 1:12 (You are a child of God), Jeremiah 1:5 (I knew you in your mother's womb), 1 Corinthians 12:27 (You are apart of the body of Christ), 1 John 3:1-2 (The great love the Father has lavished on us…). When we speak to our kids about being accepted and teach them that they are apart of Gods family, it fills a void that the world tries to make deeper with the questions of uncertainty. But when our kids are raised knowing that Jesus loves them as they are, for who they are and that they are accepted, well girlfriend then we are raising children who can stand firm and KNOW they are already bought with a price and a part of a bigger family that loves them vs what the world is offering them. We all have a natural desire to belong, to be included and accepted. Raising kids from the beginning reminding them that they are accepted, bought with a price, and loved by a Heavenly Father is pivotal in the years to come.
In our home we have always asked our kids two questions, whose are you and who are you? At a young age this question is met with giggles and follows with smiles and replies of “Mama, I belong to you and daddy”. Then we as parents might interject with, "and you also belong to God, who loves you abundantly" Then when they become teenagers and they are about to run out of the house to meet up with friends, we might give a simple reminder of, remember who you are and whose you are. This is met with an eye roll of some sort and a reply with “I know mom.” I know this once giggly child, still gets it and a simple reminder of identity upon leaving, sits on the heart and goes with her. In that immediate moment she is met with question of who she is, or what she stands for. I am assured that the foundations that were laid at infancy are still working as teenagers. I am not naive to believe she will still have some hard lessons to learn, but I am assured the Lord goes before her to use all situations for His glory. Now, let me meet some of you mamas who may be struggling with a wayward child, you right at this moment are shaking your head and tears are starting to run down your face and you are thinking, I have done all the things. Sweet friend, I believe you and can I encourage you. Jeanie Cunnion says in her book, Mom Set Free, “ We are not our children’s Savior.” I believe in the promises of God, which says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it”. I am convinced that God is still at this moment, using what you taught and instilled to rest on that child’s heart and provide discernment of some kind. God takes the ashes of our mess and can use it to His glory to make it beautiful. Let me speak into your heart, God sees you. Your Father in Heaven loves you and calls you by name, and He will use this situation for His glory. The choices your child makes, does not reflect your goodness in God. Pray, and surrender this child into the arms of Jesus and allow Gods Power and Authority to save him/her. You are free mama, Gods got this.
Thank you for hearing my heart today regarding the 2nd most important gift to give our children. This gift I have personally seen go with them and speak to them repeatedly. I have been blessed to see Gods hand protect my girl’s identity when trouble was lurking, removing them from situations that could have been harmful. I have witnessed my girls make hard choices about friendships, invites, and the building of personal image because they did not want to compromise who they were, for who the world wanted them to be. I have seen the reward of their obedience turn into strength, boldness, and compassion, and that is a gift to me.